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11-29-2001, 16:52 #1
Alaska State Trooper Slain in the line of duty
Suspect Kills Trooper, 2 Children, Himself
On Saturday November 24, 2001, at around 11:00am, Alaska State Troopers in Palmer were notified of a domestic disturbance at approximately mile 59 of the Parks Highway. According to
information received, Amy Cordell, age 25 of Wasilla, jumped from a Suburban being driven by Ryan Andrews, age 24 of Wasilla, to avoid being assaulted. Also in the vehicle at the time were the couple's two children, Cheyenne Cordell age three and Kluane (kluu-an-ee) Cordell age one. After Cordell jumped from the car, passersby contacted Troopers who, along with a Houston EMS ambulance, responded to the scene. After troopers arrived, Andrews reportedly turned around and drove south to the
couple's home in the Best View Trailer Park, mile 35.5 of the Parks Highway. Troopers followed Andrews to his residence, arriving at around 11:24am. At 11:26am, Trooper Hans Roelle walked up the driveway in an attempt to make contact with Andrews when Andrews appeared on the porch of the residence, shot at least once with a large caliber "Desert Eagle" handgun, striking Trooper Roelle once and killing him instantly. Andrews then went back in the trailer, and troopers reported hearing three more shots. Back-up was called, and within an hour, troopers and police officers from Wasilla and Palmer had surrounded the trailer.
At around 1:45pm, after hearing nothing from within the residence for more than two hours, troopers entered the residence and found Andrews and his two children all deceased. It is believed that Andrews shot both children before shooting himself.
Trooper Hans Roelle is the 12th Alaska State Trooper since statehood to die in the line of duty. He was a 17-year veteran of the Troopers, graduating from the Public Safety Academy as part of Class 38 in June of 1984. Trooper Roelle had been with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement division of the Troopers until earlier this year when he transferred to Palmer to return to patrol duty. Trooper Roelle is survived by his wife and four children.
All four bodies from the incident are being transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies. The investigation is continuing.
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Any charges included in this press release are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed
innocent until and unless proven guilty.
12-01-2001, 15:09 #2
Family, community remember slain officer as true hero
By Lucas Wall
Anchorage Daily News
(Published: December 1, 2001)
The 16 girls on the Flames soccer team lined up Friday next to the flag-draped coffin of their coach, Alaska State Trooper Hans Roelle. In a hushed, somber tone, they offered a final "We Got Spirit" cheer in his honor.
The team, dressed in its red and white jerseys, gave its championship medal to one of his daughters to place atop the coffin. The girls asked that Roelle be buried with it.
It was one of many gestures of remembrance and grief Friday as Alaska's law enforcement community assembled for the third time this year to honor one of its own lost in the line of duty. The girls illustrated, however, how Roelle's death reverberates far beyond those in uniform.
"I was supposed to be the nice one, and he was supposed to be the enforcer," said Mike Haskins, co-coach of the summer, under-12 team sponsored by Boys and Girls Club of Southcentral Alaska. The team went 19-0 and won the city title. "The girls had coach Hans wrapped around their finger in no time."
Roelle was shot to death a week ago by a 24-year-old domestic violence suspect in a Wasilla trailer park. Ryan Andrews then killed his own 1- and 3-year-old children before turning the gun on himself, troopers said.
A crowd estimated at close to 1,500 gathered Friday at the Anchorage Baptist Temple to remember Roelle. Troopers from across Alaska were joined by most of the Anchorage Police Department, representatives from city police departments ranging from Unalaska to Fairbanks, and other state and federal officers. A contingent of 10 Royal Canadian Mounted Police also attended.
Roelle's daughter Ariel, 11, sent an e-mail Sunday to her soccer teammates to inform them of her dad's death.
"He loved you all so much," she wrote. "I just wanted to say thank you for making that old man so happy this year. ... Thanks again for being so good to him and making him laugh when he was feeling down."
Ariel, who has her nickname "Speedy" on her No. 3 jersey, read a poem at Friday's 95-minute funeral. It began: "I have a papa who makes us proud, whose love brings cheers to all the crowd."
Col. Randy Crawford, troopers director, worked with Roelle in Soldotna. That was Roelle's first assignment after graduating from the Department of Public Safety training academy in 1984.
Crawford said Roelle died in a selfless act trying to protect Andrews' children from harm.
"He knew exactly what was about to happen to Cheyenne and Kluane," he said. "To understand his dedication to his children makes it easier for me to understand what happened."
In addition to Ariel, Roelle leaves behind daughters Rachel, 6, and Andie, 5; son, Hansie, 9; and wife, Christine.
Carl Cook described Roelle as "my brother in law but my true friend in fact."
"All of us will attempt to deal with this loss in our own way," Cook said. "It is the sincere hope of the family that in your quest for peace you know Hans had achieved what he desired most in life: respect of his comrades and the sincere love of family and friends."
Gov. Tony Knowles said Roelle's commitment to his family and other children should be remembered in addition to his service to the state.
"He unconditionally gave of himself to protect us," Knowles said. "To the Roelle children, please remember this: Your dad is a hero. He was a hero not only on the day he was taken from us but on each day he put on the uniform of the Alaska State Troopers. And as your father, he was a hero every day of your lives."
Roelle's shooting made this the deadliest year for Alaska law enforcement officers in 27 years. Fish and Wildlife Protection trooper James Moen died in a plane crash while on patrol near Lake Iliamna in June, and Anchorage police officer Justin Wollam was killed by a teenage driver in a Glenn Highway collision in July. In 1974, three troopers and a Ketchikan police officer died on the job.
After Friday's ceremony, hundreds of police cruisers escorted Roelle's body to Evergreen Memorial Chapel downtown. Along the 35-minute route, a couple hundred people stood at attention on snowy sidewalks. Thousands of others watched from the comfort of their vehicles as traffic was halted across a swath of the city.
Some of those who braved the cold held flags, candles and signs, including one man on Northern Lights Boulevard who wrote on a piece of cardboard: "Not all heroes live in NY." The gesture brought tears and smiles to some of those driving by.
A private burial will be held next spring at a cemetery yet to be chosen.
Reporter Lucas Wall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907 257-4321.
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